7 Safety Tips for Summer Running

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For many parts of the country, summer temperatures are here to stay. While many runners are excited about longer days and races galore, there are definitely different safety concerns for running during the hottest part of the year.

Even veteran runners need reminders of how to make the best of the warmest months, but beginning runners especially should take note of how to manage summer safely.

1) Hydrate

It goes without saying that runners will need more hydration during the summer heat. Make sure that you not only stay hydrated while running with a handheld bottle or frequent water stops, but that you properly hydrate before and after the run as well.

Experiment with electrolyte drinks to find out what works best for you if the run is particularly warm or long.

2) Use sunscreen

With more skin exposed during the summer months, it is pretty obvious that sunblock is a must. Runners should be using it year round unless they only run in the dark, but maybe this summer will be when you finally get into the habit!

3) Avoid ticks

Certain regional areas are far more susceptible to ticks. Be aware of the likelihood in your area and take precaution as needed. Use repellant, wear light-colored clothing, and cover up as much as (comfortably) possible if you plan to run in tick-infested areas.

Perform a tick check on your body after each run to ensure that you brought no friends home with you.

4) Adjust your expectations

The workout that you can do in 45°F is much harder at 85°F. Make sure that you adjust your expectations and reduce your speed as necessary. Using a heart rate monitor is the easiest way to make sure your efforts are still honest, but that you aren’t working too hard.

5) Dress for success

Wear your lightest weight and lightest colored clothing when the mercury rises. Choose fabrics that breathe and wear the least amount that you (and the law!) are comfortable with. Less clothing does expose more skin so make sure to use that sunblock!

6) Avoid midday

In the summer, it is best to run first thing in the morning or closer to sunset. It is usually the coolest (but more humid) in the morning and warmer (but less humid) in the evening. Choose your poison, but just avoid the midday where temperatures and sun exposure can be dangerous if you aren’t properly prepared.

7) Seek shade

If you are lucky to live in a place with running routes that are shady, summer is the place to take advantage of them. If you live in a place with lots of exposed areas, make sure to wear a hat and see #6 for the best time of day to run.

Runners in particularly warm climates might prefer using a treadmill some days to lower their safety risk of heatstroke or heat exhaustion.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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